Celebrate Easter Date Together

A Call to Jointly Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ Together

Currently, Christians of the world celebrate the Great Holiday Easter on two different days, which is an evident marker of the divisions that divide the Christian denominations. On April 4, 2010, and April 24, 2011, Easter in the denominations’ calendars coincidentally fall on the same day.  People who signed this text call to Christians of all denominations to use this period to prepare to jointly celebrate the Easter holiday on April 8, 2012, on the day which corresponds to the rule and method for the calculation agreed upon by the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Churches in 1997. The benefit of this method of calculation, which was recognized by all, is that it actualizes the rule established by the First Ecumenical Nicea Council.



In the first centuries of the Christian era was a disagreement regarding the date of Easter. The problem was addressed at the Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, which established the rule according to which Easter was to be celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. This principle maintained a link between the Holy Scripture and Easter, since the council acknowledged that the celebration of the resurrection should not be a factor of division for Christians. This consensus, however, was violated when Pope Gregory XIII— being conscious of inaccuracy of the method used by the Julian astronomical calculation was still occurring—reformed the calendar in 1582. Most Orthodox Christians decided to stay faithful to the Julian calendar. Today all churches recognize that inaccuracies exist in both methods of calculation.

During the conference in Aleppo in Syria, which took place from March 5 to March 10, 1997, representatives of the big Christian traditions proposed to establish a common date to be used by the whole Christian world. According to this project, the church would have continued the principle of the Nicea council for calculating the date for Easter, while basing it on very exact modern astronomical data and using the Jerusalem meridian. At the conference in Aleppo, which the Syrian Orthodox Church hosted, were represented the Anglican community, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church (Constantinople Patriarchate), the Middle East Evangelical Churches, the Greek Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Antioch and all of the East), the Lutheran World Federation, the Middle East Council of Churches, the Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), the Roman-Catholic Church (the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), Seventh-day Adventists, and the World Council of Churches.

If the astronomical calculation of the Nicea rule is more accurate in the Gregorian Calendar than in the old Julian Calendar, the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches in Aleppo made a step toward the Orthodox Churches by agreeing to set the date of Easter according to the cosmic calendar, and not having a fixed date, as it was proposed by the Holy Hierarch to the pan-Orthodox meeting in Chambésy in July 1977.

At this pan-Orthodox meeting in Chambésy it was recalled that the symbol of spring equinox is a symbol of the first day of creation, the moment of division of day and night and proclamation of victory of light over darkness. The symbol of the full moon (which earlier corresponded to the Jewish Passover) is a symbol of the fourth day of creation, the moment of creating two lights and presage of the victory of light over darkness. Finally, the symbol of the first Sunday after the full moon of the spring equinox reminds of the Resurrection of Christ, the one and definite victory in human history over death, which leads to the everlasting eight day of creation. According to this rule, Easter is always celebrated in accordance to the Nicea rule after the Jewish feast of Passover (according to the Ancient Jewish calendar, which in the calendar of the divine-human union united the Passage of the Red Sea with the fourth day of Creation).

Celebrating Easter according to the Aleppo rule allows all Christians to realize the message of the fathers of the Nicea Ecumenical Council, that on the day of resurrection all the earth is illuminatedone hemisphere receives all the light of the sun, and the other hemisphere receives all the light of the moon.

Participants of the meeting in Aleppo, representatives of the main branches of Christian Churches, formed a second recommendation, which called for opening a period of research and consideration around this consensus in order to facilitate its acceptance.

Participants of the Ecumenical Seminary in Lviv (April 2009), organized by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the Ukrainian Catholic University, who represented all the Christian Churches of the city (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant), and also representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches in a positive manner reviewed the consensus reached in Aleppo. They also expressed wishes that 2010 and 2011, when the dates of Easter fall by coincidence on the same date, be periods of preparation to the joint celebration of Eastern on April 8, 2012, on the day when in the astronomical plan will correspond to the Nicea rule. During the press conference which was organized after the seminar, the members explained that the confirmation by the Orthodox Churches of the consensus in Chambésy in 1977 (repeated by the pre-council conference at the Holy Священному Orthodox Synod in 1982) would make possible such a perspective.

At the same time Christians around the world can unite their prayers and their efforts, so that the years 2010-2011 led to widest possible joint celebration, so that the 8th of April, 2012, everywhere where Christians reach consensus and receive benediction from their bishops or Church Authorities, celebrate together the most blessed feast of Christ’s Resurrection.

Signatures (surname, name, email address), which precede the message: “I support the call to celebrate on one day according to the rule determined by consensus in Aleppo, on April 8, 2012, Easter everywhere where Christians receive benediction from their bishops or Church Authorities” should be sent to the Institute of Ecumenical Studies (UCU) of Lviv: